But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,…
Among the wonderful events of the first Lord's day morning, the incident here recorded is remarkable for pathos and beauty, and also for spiritual instruction and encouragement.
I. IT WAS A DEAD AND LOST CHRIST THAT CAUSED MARY'S GRIEF AND DISMAY. The woman's attachment and devotion to the Savior were unquestionable. She and her companions seem to have been more faithful to Jesus even than the twelve.
"Who, while apostles shrank, could dangers brave;
Last at his cross, and earliest at his grave." To Mary Jesus was as a dead Friend. She shared the common grief of the disciples, and their common anxiety during the interval between the Crucifixion and the Lord's first appearance to his own. Love induced her to linger near the tomb, and thus occasioned her interview with the angels and with the Master himself. No wonder that she loved much; she was indebted, she may well have thought, more than others to the compassion of Christ, for she had been delivered from the power of demons, and received into the favor and friendship of her Deliverer. And now to lose the Lord she loved and on whom she leaned was a trial to her faith, a grief to her heart; and she would fain care for the lifeless body of the slain One. Emblem of those who have not found Christ; of those who, having found, have then lost him; of those to whom Christ, alas! is as if dead, to whom he is no living reality, no near presence, no Divine power. Yet it is better that sensitive and yearning souls should grieve over the distance between the holy Savior and themselves than that they should acquiesce contented and indifferent - in their privation.
II. IT WAS A LIVING CHRIST THAT TURNED MARY'S SORROW INTO JOY. Observe that Jesus knew Mary before she recognized him. The language he used was intended to draw out her best feelings. Very beautiful and touching was the way in which Christ revealed himself to her heart, uttering simply the familiar name, dear from the hallowed intercourse of friendship. It was, perhaps, the name he had used in dispossessing the demons, and its utterance must have awakened many a tender memory in her heart. The living Christ thus, in a way truly human, revealed himself to his friend in one moment to banish her forebodings and assuage her grief. Her cry, "My Master!" was enough to reveal her gratitude and joy - her joy again to see him, her gratitude that the appearance and revelation were to her. Emblem of those souls to whom - is their darkness and sadness, their skepticism and despondency - Christ appears in his own Divine dignity and human sympathy, addressing them in language of compassion, and gladdening them by the vision of his risen form and his glorified and gracious countenance. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,